By Kate Harrold
A SINGLE HAIR from a CLIENT almost caused this barber to LOSE HER EYE after it SPLINTERED in her skin and caused an MRSA infection.
Barber, Lyndsey Burbank (36) from San Diego, USA, is no stranger to hair splinters. Much like any other kind of splinter, these are easily removed with a pair of tweezers – something Lyndsey is used to doing in her profession.
In March of 2020, Lyndsey awoke to a swollen eyelid having removed a hair splinter the day before having spent the day cutting customers’ hair. She could feel a red bump under the skin and thought perhaps a facial would reduce the swelling. Over the next 48-hours, things got progressively worse as Lyndsey began losing sight in her eye due to the swelling and pain. She was sent home from urgent care with a course of antibiotics.
Despite the antibiotics, Lyndsey’s condition continued to worsen. Eventually, she went to the hospital’s emergency room where she was put on an IV drip and given the strongest possible antibiotics. Doctors initially suspected Lyndsey may have developed a staph infection – but ultimately, this wasn’t the case.
Doctors told Lyndsey that she would need to undergo surgery. Not wanting to be admitted, Lyndsey had the procedure done bedside with only a local anaesthetic. As doctors cut open and drained Lyndsey’s eyelid, she could feel much more than she bargained for.
The following day, Lyndsey was finally admitted to hospital as doctors diagnosed her with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection and Lyndsey faced the possibility of losing her eye. MRSA is known as a ‘superbug’ due to its intense antibiotic resistance.
Lyndsey underwent a further two surgeries; doctors were able to drain the infection more successfully and rid Lyndsey’s eyelid of some scar tissue. Since then, Lyndsey has made a full recovery and despite the ordeal she went through, is left only with a small scar.
“I’ve experienced hair splinters before – usually every day at work from my clients. They’ve always been milder in the past. They feel similar to a regular splinter and you remove them the same way,” Lyndsey said.
“With this particular one, I felt a stabbing feeling in my eyelid. I saw the hair splinter and removed it with tweezers as I have in the past.
“The next day, there was a big bump and my eyelid was swollen. I went in to get a facial thinking it would help.
“Forty-eight hours after removing the hair splinter, my eye was extremely red and swollen. I could hardly see. I went to urgent care where I was given antibiotics and sent home.
“At this point, it was hot and tender to touch – my vision was blurry. I went back to urgent care and was told to give the antibiotics more time to work.”
It was at this stage that Lyndsey decided to go to the emergency room.
“On day four, I went to the emergency room because I couldn’t see at all. I was experiencing a lot of pain. Instantly, I was given an IV with fluid and two of the hospital’s strongest antibiotics,” Lyndsey said.
“They said it looked like a staph infection. The surgeon told me that they’d need to cut it open. He said that if they couldn’t control it, I could lose my eye.
“I did not want to be admitted to the hospital so I had the procedure done bedside with no general anaesthetic – I was awake for the entire time. He numbed the area but I felt everything.
“He left the incision open so the infection could drain and told me I was being admitted. The next day, I could feel pain in my neck and ear. When the doctor came in, he agreed I was getting worse.
“I was moved to a private room where I was told I had an MRSA infection. On day six, I went in for surgery again, but this time under general anaesthetic. The doctor made a bigger incision and left it open.
“On day eight, I was taken into surgery again. This time, the doctor cleaned out as much scar tissue as possible which seemed to work.”
Lyndsey has thankfully, had a successful recovery – without any lasting damage.
“Recovery hasn’t been too awful other than the unsightly scar and redness,” Lyndsey said.
“The MRSA is gone and the incision spot is only a little bit tender now. My eye has no damage, but my eyelid does have a gnarly scar. It’s nothing a little bit of make-up can’t hide.
“It’s a reminder of how incredible my faith, courage, and strength are. When you hand all your fear over to God, God will hold you and carry you through.
“Going forwards, I’m not fearful of hair splinters. I now know that you must use an antibacterial cleanser or antiseptic solution. I am however afraid of MRSA.”
For more, see @lyndseyburbank.creations on Instagram.